Report: India vs England – 1st ODI
An all-round performance from England saw them win the first ODI of the five-match series against India by nine runs at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. The high-scoring contest ended on a thrilling note with Jade Dernbach defending 18 runs in the final over, after England put up 325 on board on a batting paradise.
With a solid yet attacking opening stand of 96 runs, Gautam Gambhir and Ajinkya Rahane put India’s chase well on course. The fact that the two scored at a fair clip, ensured the pressure of this big chase remained off the team. Both Gambhir and Rahane scored boundaries freely in the first 10 overs, especially on the leg-side.
However, England pulled things back well in the middle overs, thanks to their spinners – specialist James Tredwell and part-timer Joe Root. Tredwell was the man responsible for India’s first two wickets. He enticed Rahane into a big hit and got him caught at long-off, before deceiving Gambhir in flight, resulting in him mistiming a flick to the fielder at midwicket. Virat Kohli (15) didn’t last long, perishing caught behind to an inside-out shot.
However, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina steadied India’s rocking boat by putting up 60 runs in nine overs for the fourth wicket. Yuvraj was the dominant partner, contributing 40 of those runs. Like the batsmen preceding him, Yuvraj too scored heavily on the leg side, playing flicks and heaves over midwicket with aplomb. England and Tredwell’s leg-side tactics eventually paid off when the left-hander mistimed a paddle sweep and holed out at short fine-leg.
After Yuvraj’s departure, it was Raina’s turn to take charge. He took most of the strike and did the bulk of the scoring as MS Dhoni patiently tried to get his eye in. The southpaw scored boundaries on both sides of the wicket en route a 49-ball half-century, before lobbing an easy return catch to Tredwell.
Dhoni called for his slogging bat and creamed four massive sixes with it; one of these was hit one-handed. The Indian captain failed to take India home as a slower ball outside off-stump from Jade Dernbach got him out.
India’s lower order fought, hard but England hung on for a thrilling win. Tredwell was the ace bowler for the visitors with figures of 44 for four in his 10 overs. Dernbach lived up to his reputation of being a slower-ball specialist and picked up two wickets.
Earlier, after winning the toss, Ian Bell (85 off 96 balls) and Alastair Cook (75 off 83 balls) came out with a positive yet sensible approach, capitalising on the boundary balls. After the mandatory powerplay of 10 overs, the openers took England to 54 runs.
The story remained the same for many more overs. Bell notched up his fourth consecutive 50-plus score on the Indian soil – one of them was a century – and Cook continued to pick on Team India with yet another fifty. The 158-run stand between Cook and Bell was the record opening partnership for England against India in ODIs.
Like their alliance, there were two similarities in the dismissals of the two opening batsmen. Ajinkya Rahane had a role to play on both occasions and both were caused due to a sweep shot by Cook. The first time Cook swept, Bell was run-out by a direct hit from Rahane. The second time, Cook got caught by the same man at short fine-leg off Raina’s bowling.
England were 232 for two after 40 overs and it appeared as though the Indian bowlers had done a good job of restricting the run-rate under six. However, things changed significantly in the 10 overs to follow. England added 93 runs, thanks mainly to Samit Patel’s slogging knock of 44 from 20 balls. He hit with six boundaries and a six.
Brief Scores: England 325/4 (Ian Bell 85; Ashoke Dinda 2/53) beat India 316/9 (Yuvraj Singh 61; James Tredwell 4/44) by nine runs
Man of the Match: James Tredwell for clocking figures of 10-0-44-4 in a high-scoring game.